Your spinal cord is an integral part of your body and manages the relay of messages between the brain and your body. If your spinal cord is damaged, you can suffer the loss of many essential bodily functions, including bladder and bowel function, sensations, reflexes, muscle movements, and breathing.
Spinal cord injuries can be complete, which leads to total paralysis below the injury (i.e. quadriplegia or paraplegia), or incomplete, which refers to a limited loss of function on either or both sides of the body. Whether your spinal cord injury is total or incomplete, you can suffer a loss of quality of life, emotional and psychological trauma, costly medical and rehabilitation bills, physical pain, and other economic and non-economic damages. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue compensation.
Spinal Cord Injuries vs. Back Injuries
Before continuing, it is important to differentiate between spinal cord and back injuries. While many people confuse or use these terms interchangeably, back injuries involve damage to the soft tissue in the spine or the bones in the back. Spinal cord injuries refer to damage sustained to the spinal cord itself.
Common Negligence-Related Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Below, we will discuss the common types of negligence-related accidents that can lead to spinal cord injuries.
- Vehicular accidents. A person involved in a car, bus, motorcycle, or truck accident can suffer a powerful blow to the spine, which can lead to spinal cord damage and paralysis. Motor vehicle accidents can be caused by negligence or recklessness from other drivers, car part manufacturers, roadway maintenance crews, or other parties. While liability can fall on many different parties, a person who sustained spinal cord damage can pursue legal action.
- Slip and fall accidents. A common cause of spinal cord injuries is falling. If a person slips or trips and falls because of negligent conditions on another person’s property, they can take legal action against the property owner.
- Medical malpractice. Surgical complications can cause spinal cord injuries. While not all surgical complications are due to negligence, some can be. Common negligence-related reasons for surgical errors include (but are not limited to), improper preparation, communication breakdowns, neglect, drug and alcohol use by medical staff, and taking shortcuts to save time or resources.
- Negligent security incidents. Gunshot wounds or physical blows to the spine can lead to a spinal cord injury. Property and business owners owe their guests a duty of care to protect them while on their property or warn them of certain dangers. If a person is shot or beaten in the course of a crime on a property without adequate safety measures, they can pursue a negligent security claim.
- Sports-related accidents. Many people suffer spinal cord damage while engaging in a sport or extra-curricular activity. If you or a loved one are involved in a sport, there is an assumption of risk when you play. Many coaches and athletic facilities ask that you sign a waiver that states you understand that there is a risk for certain injuries. For example, in hockey games, a person could suffer a bone break or bruise because of a slap shot or check against the boards. However, you may still be able to pursue legal action if you are injured because of intentional acts, recklessness, negligent coaching (i.e. placing players at risk unnecessarily), or a product liability issue.
The Dickinson Law Firm is a firm backed by over four decades of legal experience. If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury in a negligence-based accident, you can trust our team to work to help you achieve the best possible case results. Schedule a case consultation with our firm today by calling (770) 766-7739.